Martin Smith column: Lose the hate and love Leon - the Owls and Blades goal machine

Leon Clarke of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the Championship match at Bramall Lane
Leon Clarke of Sheffield Utd celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the Championship match at Bramall Lane

Sometimes you just have to say ‘well done’, no prevarication or tribal truculence appropriate.

Leon Clarke, striker of this Sheffield parish, once blue and now a Blade scores four goals to take his newly-promoted team to second in the Championship.

Of course hard-bitten Wednesdayites - while revelling in their teams midfield masterclass that gave them a 2-1 win at Villa - will be cursing his turncoat treachery through gritted teeth but more thoughtful Owls will offer a grudging shrug of appreciation.

Which, away from the banter and match-day militance is the right thing to do.

But don’t you sometimes wonder who some football fans think they are? What about Hull supporters trying to upset their Egyptian-born owner by setting off smoke bombs in a pub in Sheffield? A masterstroke.

That’s going to hit Assem Allam right where it hurts, eh lads? You can only stand and scratch your head.

Of course these are small-scale terror tactics, the unlawful use of intimidation to disrupt normal life to make political or social points.

Throwing tennis balls on the pitch during a game - as Hull fans did in their recent home match against Forest - may not get them what they want but at least it makes a point in a proper context.

Ruining the inside of a Sheffield pub with orange smoke while drunkenly chanting ‘We are ‘ull’ won’t change the world except perhaps the pub landlord’s world if he has to fork out to have the place re-painted.

At least there’ll be respite around the country from badly-behaved visiting fans as the international break gives club supporters a weekend off.

After last week’s moan about young players not getting chance to break through at Premier clubs the lads will get an opportunity to test themselves against the best with England fixtures against Brazil and Germany.

Games between England and those nations are always special events. And maybe that’s part of the problem.

History kids us into believing we are at their level but the reality is different.

Maybe our many-layered international youth successes are creating a new culture at St George’s, one that will bring through a generation free from obsession about status.

One that concentrates on ability, awareness and desire. Now that would be something to wave the flag about.